There are of course lots of fancy table designs with all kinds of novel features and details. A lot of these designs assume a level of skill not always within reach of general DIYers, so for this Instructable we'll create a basic dining table which can be achieved with simple hand tools and timber available at any decent hardware/DIY store. It has to be said however you will require some woodworking tools, which I've tried to keep to minimum. We're using ready-planed and square timber to reduce the work required and make this project a relatively simple DIY project. We'll be using the common mortise and tenon joint to build the frame and some basic L-brackets to joint the top to the frame.
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Step 1: Tools and Materials
2400mm x 94mm x 18mm planed timber (4 lengths)
2400mm x 70mm x 18mm planed timber (2 lengths)
3000mm x 44mm x 44mm planed timber (1 length)
Fixing brackets and screws
4x Sash Clamps
Quick grip clamps
Strap tightener or clamp
Mitre box (or Mitre saw, even better)
Router for mortises (optional)
Table saw for cutting tenons (optional)
Step 2: Make Table Top
The first job is to create the table top. For this we'll be gluing together lengths of 1200mm x 94mm x 18mm timber to create a 1200mm x 752mm table top. I glued one piece at a time but you could glue multiple pieces if you are confident.
1. Cut each length of 2400mm x 94mm in half. This will give you 8x pieces at 1200mm.
2. Lay out all these pieces to find a nice pattern for the whole top and number them on the bottom side
3. Take the first two pieces and apply a bead of wood glue down the joint, spreading it with card.
4. Using sash clamps firmly bring together. Use quick clamps to stop the ends moving.
5. Wipe away excess glue and wait until dry.
6. Flip the piece over and repeat with the next piece. Flipping it will help prevent the top from bowing as your clamping pressure may not be quite "square".
7. Repeat these steps, as you add more pieces a spare bit of wood can be clamped in the gluing process to keep it all flat.
Step 3: Trim Table Top
The top should now be complete, but you will need to square it up and trim the ends.
1. Using a square mark a line for trimming the ends.
2. Use a handsaw and cut, take time and let the saw do the work.
3. (Optional) You could now sand this up, but to get a better finish I used a router to finish it off. First, clamp a piece of planed timber to the end, making sure it is perfectly square. This would be the reference for the guide bearing. Route along the length with a straight cutter, then drop the router bit and repeat. This gave me a nicer finish than the handsaw.
Step 4: Cut Table Legs
I have specified a single 3000mm x 44mm x 44mm but as it happened my pack came bound in a pack of 4, so it was convenient to cut all 4 legs at once.
1. Not owning a mitre saw I have used a mitre box screwed to the workbench and a square to keep my cut level. I used a clamp to prevent movement during the cut.
2. Mark around all 4 pieces so you can follow the line.
3. Take is steady, again let the saw do the work. This worked out nicely and I had 4 legs of exactly the same length. It would be far more preferable to use a mitre saw however.
Step 5: Mortice and Tenon Joints
The tricky bit, creating the mortise and tenon joints. For the frame each leg will need 2x mortises on adjacent edges and obviously each piece of skirt will need tenons on each end.
1. First cut the skirts to length. You will need 2x pieces of 1052mm x 70mm x 18mm and 2x pieces of 604mm x 70mm x 18mm. This allows for a 20mm tenon depth on each end.
2. I have used a router to create a rounded mortise and measured this to find the tenon width. Depending on methods your sizes could vary, so I've left this unspecific.
3. Next I use the table saw to cut the tenons, which gives a nice square finish, raising the blade to the required depth, setting the fence and doing multiple passes to nibble away at the tenon. Equally using hand tools to create these joints would work well using a nice fine saw and chisels.
Step 6: Glue Frame
Time to build the frame. To start with I've created the end pieces first. Building the table on a good flat surface is not a bad idea, it will prevent unevenness later on.
1. Glue and clamp both legs to the short skirts - make sure to orient them properly and use a square to make sure everything is looking good.
2. Once both end pieces were dry I've glued the long pieces in, building the table on the ground and using a old strap tightener to "clamp" it in place. A specific strap clamp might be a good idea for this.
3. Check everything is square before leaving to dry.
Step 7: Fix Table Top to Frame
To fix the table top I recycled some old brackets from and Ikea kitchen, they were not ideal but will hold it firm. Simply screw them to the skirt and then the table top. There are numerous other "woodworking" ways to do this job, I just used what I had and these little brackets work fine in this case.
Step 8: Round Off Edges
Finally I used a roundover bit on the router to round off the table top, which is optional.. This could be sanded away if you like, or left square.
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